WASHINGTON: Defence ties between Bahrain and the US came under the spotlight yesterday as His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, held key talks as part of a working visit to Washington.
He met US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon and emphasised the strategic importance of bilateral relations.
He paid tribute to the US Navy's collaborative efforts to safeguard security and protect international maritime routes in the Gulf.
Mr Hagel underscored the importance of the defence relationship, which is the foundation of the nearly seven decades of US-Bahrain bilateral partnership.
He thanked the Crown Prince for Bahrain's hosting of the US Fifth Fleet headquarters and support to thousands of Department of
Defence personnel and their families.
Mr Hagel congratulated the Crown Prince on his appointment as First Deputy Prime Minister and indicated that he looked forward to
working with him in his
They discussed specific issues relating to ongoing
military and defence co-operation.
Both expressed satisfaction regarding the extent of current joint operations and noted their vital importance to the region's security.
The Crown Prince and Mr Hagel also agreed that this could be further enhanced, both bilaterally and with other GCC nations.
The Crown Prince also met US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.
He emphasised the strategic importance of the strong military and defence ties between Bahrain and the US.
They discussed the potential to further enhance strategic co-ordination.
The meeting also reviewed a number of regional developments and topics of mutual interest.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa stressed that the Crown Prince's visit to the US has added a new dimension to boosting ties between both countries.
In a statement, he pointed out US President Barack Obama's support to the reform march of His Majesty King Hamad, to promote
dialogue as well as guarantee freedom and a decent life for citizens.
He also described the Bahraini-US co-operation as two strategic allies maintaining regional stability as well as co-ordinating efforts with allied countries to ensure security in the Arabian Gulf and confront terrorism.
He added that the visit is part of ongoing co-operation between both countries.